Surface Book 2 15 Inch – In a mobile design environment

Current Setups

I take a TLDR approach to my reviews here, I don’t want to bore you with 15 pages of junk, that you’ll never read. If you don’t want to read all the juicy stuff, skip to the bottom part, labeled “The TLDR Part”. So here’s the scoop!

I’ve been using the Microsoft Surface Book 2 15″ lately, as a machine that I work on projects when I’m not in the office or at home. I have a design machine at work with a Quadro P5000 and an i7 7700k, and one at home with SLI GeForce1070s and an AMD FX 8350. These machines are great for what I do in Unity 3D, and many other applications. I can say the 1070s are slower in light baking, but I paid personal money for that – so it’s going to stay that way until the RTX Quadros release, and prices drop for other GPUs.

Enough about me, what about the Surface Book 2 15″?

Specs:

Display – 15” PixelSense™ Display with up to 3240 x 2160 resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, 10 point multi-touch, and ink

Storage – 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB PCIe SSD

CPU – 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8650U quad-core processor, 4.2GHz Max Turbo

GPU – NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 graphics memory

Usability:

  • General Feel
    • Keyboard is about as good as it gets, for a laptop – amazing feel to it.
    • Touchpad is great, you get more gestures than you’d expect, and the size of the touchpad is about perfect.
    • Weight is a little much, but if you look at teardowns, it has batteries to justify the weight.
    • Size is magical, very slim machine, doesn’t feel huge like a 17″ mobile workstation.
    • Noise, when you’re under heavy work loads with the CPU, noise isn’t too bad, GPU is another story – sounds like a jet engine taking off
    • Battery life, is amazing! Just as advertised, and I’m impressed.
    • Speed, surprisingly good! I did notice going from a desktop 7700k, or 8350, to the 8650 laptop i7, light baking is a little slower, but not bad.
  • Peripherals
    • Mouse, I’d recommend a Surface Precision Mouse, the other options are not awesome for a design(or gaming) environment.
    • Dial, Have you heard of the Surface Dial? It’s pretty cool, but I’d wait until the gen 2 dial comes out, it will have a 3D joystick feel to it.
    • Pen, I didn’t think I’d have a need for a pen on a computer, what for? But when I use tablet mode, I use the Surface Pen for sure, I love it.
    • Dock, this is less of a mobile experience thing, but the Surface Dock is nice for connecting 2 screens super fast.
    • THE BEST PART! They all match. This is super satisfying for the OCD, thank the gods of Microsoft for matchyness!

The TLDR Part:

So the conclusion? I have used the Surface Book 2 15″ for a few months now, and I can say that the experience is much different than I expected. Normally you try to look past the marketing stuff, because they’re just trying to make it look good, but it is good. Mind blown by the 1060 in the Surface Book 2 15″. I imagined that anything less than a 1070 would have been garbage for the torment that I put my computers through, but man was I wrong! Between the Gen 8 i7, and the 1060, you have enough power to do pretty much anything you’d like, without lag ruining your day.

If you’re looking for an extremely portable, workstation worthy, consumer grade, super laptop, get the Surface Book 2 15″. You will not be disappointed!

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